Founder Focus: Olivia Ferdi and Dan Khoury of TRIP
Since being founded by newlyweds Olivia and Dan in 2019, TRIP has quickly become the UK’s leading premium CBD brand. Blending natural adaptogens like soothing chamomile and energising ginseng, with organically grown hemp derived-CBD, TRIP products are a high-quality and sugar-free way to find some balance.
Busier than ever, TRIP’s direct-to-consumer sales have exploded during lockdown, due to so many more UK consumers looking for ways to combat stress. Quick to respond to this overwhelming demand, TRIP partnered with Deliveroo back in May to become their first and only specialist CBD store – making their CBD drinks and oils available in as little as 30 minutes.
Whether you fancy kicking off your day with a jitter-free Cold Brew Coffee, or unwinding in the evening with a cocktail that’s been made with a delicious CBD-infused botanical drink, TRIP aims to help you find the calm in the chaos.
BALANCE caught up with the trailblazing team behind TRIP, to find out more about how they turned their passion project into a fully-fledged business.
What was your Eureka moment?
The original product was created because we loved the effects of using CBD, having discovered it ourselves back in 2018. Dan underwent knee surgery just a few weeks before our wedding. He tried out CBD oil to minimise pain and inflammation, and credits it with getting him down the aisle, crutches free!
I began using it daily to alleviate anxiety when working as a solicitor in the city. However, there was no product in the UK that spoke to our personal values. The options were typically inaccessible across branding, price point and quality. The eureka moment came when we were tired of compromising – we left our jobs in the city to create our drinks as a convenient, sociable and accessible way for people to explore CBD’s benefits.
What is your elevator pitch?
We created TRIP with the aim of providing a bit of calm amongst the everyday chaos, and provide CBD experiences that are just as enjoyable to taste as the feeling after. Products with amazing flavour that leave you more productive, less stressed and more you.
How did you test your idea?
Initially, this consisted of myself and Dan in the kitchen of our flat, experimenting with various combinations, flavours and quantities of CBD mixed with our favourite extracts and botanicals – aiming to create something uniquely delicious, totally functional and unexpectedly refreshing. Once the ideas and recipes had evolved past our kitchen counter, we worked with a manufacturer and on beautiful packaging to create our first cans – taking inspiration from our travels, from time in nature and nostalgic moments, tastes and smells. We tested these on very supportive family and friends, and threw a summer garden party to introduce TRIP to them.
Since launching we have built an organic and engaged online community and so that has become our new testing ground. Their thoughts, feedback and messages have become our main inspiration. Our product resonates strongly with urban millennials who share many of the same experiences as we do in navigating the daily grind, so we use our Instagram as a strong platform to connect with our community and test out ideas. We make a lot of our decisions by just listening to what our community wants us to do. For example, with lockdown anxiety transforming our daily routines, the desire for CBD oils intensified, so we accelerated our launch.
What advice would give someone who wants to start a business of their own?
Is there a need for your product? Test the prototype on friends, family and people in your target demographic. If feedback is repeated, take it on board and be flexible to adapt (even if it’s tough). Be realistic about your financial commitments and if this is something you need to launch as a side hustle in your spare time before committing 100% to it. Be prepared for a lot of people who challenge you and your mission – it might get tough and pretty lonely at times, and if that doesn’t put you off, then make the jump! Be open, be kind and build your network.
Do you have a mentor or are you one?
Connections and collaboration are very important to us both professionally and personally. We are completely new to the FMCG world, having worked in law and finance, so we are very much learning as we go. Sharing learnings from other entrepreneurs is a big help and we’re so grateful to many people (not limited to the food and drink space) who have shared their time, expertise and experiences with us over a coffee (or TRIP!). That support system of brand owners and entrepreneurs who often share your passion for a disruptive product, has been fantastic.
We both mentor several contacts in our previous career fields, in particular those thinking of making lateral moves away from corporate law and finance. If anyone would like to chat to us, do reach out over Instagram or LinkedIn.
What’s your plan B?
There is no plan B! We’re all in 🙂
What is the most worthwhile investment (time, energy, money) you have made?
Product quality. Given the rising trend of CBD products, many existing players in food, drink, and beauty are adding CBD as an ingredient to existing ranges, as well as new brands rushing to partake in the growth. From the outset we knew the brand we wanted to create would stand on pillars of quality and authentic functionality.
That’s why we chose 15 mg CBD per serve (one of the highest for drinks). Focussing on flavour, with no added sugar – again the quality of the taste and feel of the product was crucial to our launch and drives our range expansion. We don’t want our community to compromise on flavour or functionality in their CBD experiences, so we’ve invested heavily into complex formulations and differentiated flavours to delight our consumers.
What one failure are you glad you experienced?
Too many to list! As a brand owner, it’s important not to take any “failure” too personally and ensure you’re investing energy into positive actions, to learn how to improve, adapt or refocus strategy. This is particularly tricky in lockdown when highs and lows can feel pretty amplified, but having a great team and support system is crucial.
What is coming up for TRIP?
First and foremost we are focusing on our new oils. We had always planned to create a holistic CBD range, and oils were the natural next step for us. Following on from the surge in demand, we accelerated our launch and released these in May. We had always loved the way we felt after using CBD oils, but were bored of every brand looking the same, with brown bottles, plain labels and green tones. We are really proud of our game-changing oils, shaking up the norms by not only being authentically functional but not compromising on taste, look or feel. With the accessible brand messaging (and price point) of our CBD oils, we hope that – just like our drinks – TRIP will help show thousands of new users the benefits of CBD.
Taking CBD should be a moment of calm in the middle of your day, so we want to create CBD experiences where every element is enjoyable. We plan to bring the same ethos to our future products. We can’t give too much away but we are in the midst of planning some exciting new releases. As with our drinks and oils, all of our future products will reflect TRIP’s values of being playful, aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly high quality – so keep an eye on our socials for upcoming launches!
What book would you recommend that everyone reads and why?
Can I offer a Netflix recco instead? I’m completely obsessed with The Last Dance since watching it last month. As well as all the drama you could hope for, the series focuses on Michael Jordan’s incredible discipline, talent, drive and calm in the face of adversity. So we’ve been making a lot of references in team meetings! The ability to calmly face competition and empower your team to create something when united, in particular as underdogs, inspires and resonates with me – plus, the 90s fashion references are incredible!
How do you find balance in your daily life?
We made TRIP to help find calm in the everyday chaos – and encourage our community to create new rituals, mark the moments, and reset. That might be taking a break from work, relaxing with friends after a long day, or finding quiet time for yourself before sleeping. It’s different for everyone.
More recently, we’ll stroll to the park everyday to exercise, and try and enjoy the amazing weather and closeness to nature. We make sure we end the work day by putting on a favourite playlist and enjoying a TRIP cocktail while we prep dinner. With home/work increasingly blurred, this has become our evening ritual to help us unwind.